This two-part article explores the experience of living and working for poverty focused NGOs in a civil war whose roots lay in the chronically inequitable distribution of power and access to resources. Drawing on 12 years’ work in Central America, the author reflects on the demands and constraints placed on international aid workers in the context of civil conflict; and on the ways in which relationships with local counterpart organisations and NGOs are affected. Empowerment and participation are examined from the perspective of those who refuse to play the role of war victims. Part Two explores the immediate and longer-term impacts of war and political violence both on those who survive, and on local and international workers who are concerned to address its causes and consequences.
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